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Distler to address graduates

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 15 - December 8, 1994

In a new effort to recognize faculty members with excellent teaching credentials, Virginia Tech will feature one of its own as the December Commencement speaker.

Chosen as the first to deliver such an address, Paul Antonie "Tony" Distler will speak at Fall Commencement Saturday, Dec. 17, at 10 a.m. in Cassell Coliseum.

Distler was one of four professors nominated by students for the honor, with President Paul Torgersen making the final selection.

Distler is a teacher, performer, director, scholar, television host, and producer. An alumni distinguished professor and director of the Division of Performing Arts, Distler has received the W.E. Wine Award for Teaching Excellence, has been published on arts administration and vaudeville in a variety of journals and books, and has hosted the 13- part television series A Better Mousetrap that was syndicated on PBS stations. His most recent television work has been as producer and host of Dimensions, a continuing series of enrichment programs beamed via satellite to all the high schools in Virginia.

Distler has been an equity actor since 1959. Recently, he has devoted most of his time in performance to directing, and his production of Waiting for Godot was presented at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts as a part of the American College Theatre Festival.

He also is co- director of Virginia Tech's Arts Management Institute and recently has become involved in arts administration consulting work with not- for- profit museums, performing- arts organizations, and colleges and universities throughout the United States. A past president of both the American Theatre Association and the National Association of Schools of Theatre, Distler is a fellow of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre.

Approximately 1,000 students are expected to participate in the Commencement ceremonies. All degrees- - bachelor's, master's, and doctoral- - will be conferred. There are no individual college or departmental ceremonies. According to Carolyn Agnew, executive secretary in the President's Office, nearly 3,000 students are eligible to graduate, but many choose to wait for the spring ceremonies.

Fall Commencement has grown by about 200 students per year since it was first implemented four years ago, Agnew said. This year, for the first time, there will be a professional photographer at the fall ceremony.

"The fall ceremony is a really nice, intimate ceremony," Agnew said. She added that having a well-known professor like Distler as Commencement speaker adds to the "family" feeling of the day.

There is no limit to the number of guests, and tickets are not required for the ceremony. The procession will begin at 9:45 a.m. for the 10 a.m. ceremony, which will last approximately two hours.

Seating for persons with impaired mobility is available; for information, call Virginia Reilly at 1-3787.